Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jan 27 - Week 25 - Chinese New Year Festival, Li Rui, Seeing Moses Again, Remembering that people we help is reason to be there even on hard weeks

Well since this week was not very eventful I will only go over the one exciting day and then I want to write about some people I have met.
The only day that was eventful was Saturday.  Riverside City held a Chinese New Year festival downtown and President Smart gave us permission to go.  It was a long/really hot day, but we talked to a ton of Chinese people, and got to see some cool stuff.  In the morning there was a parade through downtown.  There were a bunch of dragons, drummers, and firecrackers (really loud.)  It was fun to watch.  Then the rest of the day they had a bunch of tents set up selling Chinese food and souveniers.  I got some green onion pancakes, which sound really weird, but are actually my new favorite.  The place was swarming with people (students and families)  from Mainland China.  It was great to talk to so many of them.  We invited people to meet with us and/or go to English class.  (we need English class students!  On Friday our numbers were down to 3, but on wednesday (our superbowl night) we had about 15)  Lots of people totally rejected us, but we also found out it was a great place to find all of our former investigators who have stopped responding to our texts or calls.  For example we saw Moses! Finally! He was really friendly, and we invited him to come to church.  HE CAME!!!  It made the whole day worth it.  I hope we can pick him back up again. 

Something funny about the festival is that a lot of people decided to come dressed up as their favorite Japanese cartoon character.  In the afternoon there were hundreds of really strangely dressed teenagers.  Elder Clarkson came too and he told me it is called Cos Play.  It reminded me of how you described comic-con.  I thought of Conner when two people dressed as Doctor Who came up behind us and asked us to get a picture with "representatives from the religion of the time-lords"  Is Doctor Who LDS?  All in all it was a good day.
Well now I thought I would just talk about the recent converts we work with.  They are all really cool, and I just want to let you guys know how they are doing.
Li Rui:  Li Rui came to American 2 years ago, just as she was finishing high school.  Her parents both came, but now they are divorced. Her mom lives in Florida, and she lives with her Dad here in Riverside.  She was walking on the street one day and got lost.  She asked the missionaries for directions since they spoke Chinese.  They helped her out and invited her to English class.  She came and the missionaries offered to help practice English with her and teach her more about the gospel.  She accepted.  From what I've heard the missionaries helped her a lot, she was going through a really hard time in her life, her parents were divorced, she had no friends, and could barely speak English.  The missionaries helped her realize she could rely on Jesus Christ.  He will always be there for her and help her.  After some cool experiences with the Book of Mormon that really gave her a strong testimony, she decided to be baptized in April 2013.  Li Rui is awesome!  She helps us so much.  She gives our investigators rides to chruch every week and helps us teach lessons all the time. She has recently enrolled in BYU-Idaho online pathway program, next year she will be able to transfer up there.  She just got a job at DI this month and next month she is moving into a member's house.  She is also teaching our Chinese gospel principles class at church.  She has a really strong testimony, the gospel has really helped her change her life. I love talking about this because this is the reason why I want to be out here.  To help people like Li Rui (pronounced LEE RAY) know that we have a Father in Heaven who has prepared a way for us to have peace in this life, and eternal happiness in the world to come. To help people know that through Jesus Christ and his atonement we can overcome our mistakes that we all make, that we can learn and grow without being cut off forever from God.  So even when weeks are hard I think about Li Rui and all the other people (looks like I only have time for one this week) that I have been called to serve.
I Love you all so much.
-Elder Murray

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Jan 21 - Week 24 Christy Sincere Prayer, Frank and Ensign, Wei Wei and Li Progressing, Uncle Chuang's Bakery, Hard to lose Moses, Guo Qing, Katherine

Another week has flown by.  It has been pretty warm here, sometimes it is a even a little hot as we are walking outside at noon.  I'm nervous for Summer. It is going to be an adventure. 
Tuesday was pretty interesting.  Our investigator named Moses dropped us.  He just texted us and told us that he was just having a really hard time and said to give him some peace.  He hasn't responded to any calls or texts yet.  This is where teaching all the lessons at the institute becomes sort of a bummer, because we don't know where our investigators live.  Tuesday we also got to meet the new Chinese Elder!  His name is Elder Heaton.  His Chinese is really good, it will be nice to have another person to practice with. Now we have a total of 5 Chinese speakers in the mission.  Tuesday night we almost got this guy named Guo Qing on date, but he said he wanted to wait for his family to come and meet us.  He also dropped us later in the week.  We also had a really good lesson with Wei Wei and Li.  We taught them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They totally accepted it and were still willing to be baptized on the 26th.
Wednesday we had our first DDM of the transfer.  My new DL is a Spanish missionary named Elder Jensen.  He is a good missionary, and he gave a really good training on testifying with the Spirit.  We have a pretty good district that also includes our new room mates.  Elder Reber from Enterprise Utah and Elder Gillet from Alpine, Utah.  They are both super cool.  Reber is a farmer and loves tractors, and Gillet is a hardcore hunter.  They get along great.  English Class was better Wednesday night,  We had 2 new people show up, but we still weren't up to the numbers we had before Snyder left.
Thursday we met with an old investigator named Katherine.  She had been out of town for a long time, and finally was able to meet with us.  She told us that she had talked to her mom about baptism.  Her mom is Buddhist and was totally against it,  So she told us she had to stop meeting.  Then the member that we had brought with us talked for 15 minutes straight about why she shouldn't... using English.  Katherine totally didn't understand and looked pretty bored for most of it.  She has also stopped returning calls or texts.  After that rough lesson we taught some potential investigators English.  They told us about their home towns.  One was from a town called Suzhou,  It sounds really cool; it is by a famous lake called West Lake.  After that we went to Uncle Chuang's Chinese Bakery;  I got a lotus cake that was really good.  I will definitely have to get it again.

At night we taught a student named Klaus that we found just by going through and calling all of the people in our phone that we didn't know.  He is pretty interested in the church, but he is really busy with school.
Friday we met with a girl named Echo.  She loves history and even lived in France for two years.  So after a while of letting her practice English, we brought out the Book of Mormon and taught her the history of it.  She was pretty interested.  Friday night we had 17 people come to English class!!!  I was so happy,  I have been praying for help with our English class.  I know Heavenly Father answers our prayers, but we need to review at the end of everyday to recognize how much He has really helped us.  That is something I have been trying to work on this week. 
Saturday Guo Qing dropped us.  That happened a lot this week.   We taught a good amount of lessons that day, most were just helping them practice English, and trying to find who is interested in the gospel.  At night we met with another person that we found just by going through our phone.  Her name is Christy.  She already speaks really good English, but we starting talking about prayer and how it helps us. She asked if she could pray.  We said of course.  We taught her how to pray and she said a really sincere prayer.  It was a really cool lesson, we helped her recognize that the good feelings she had were from the spirit.  Christy's lesson went a little long so our next appointment was just sitting outside in the foyer.  (The UCR institute is basically just our office)    While Frank (our next appointment) was waiting, he picked up an Ensign and started reading it.  He asked us to go over it with him and help him to understand it.  He had read a talk from Elder Utchdorf called Saints for all Seasons.  It was really good, and the coolest part was at the end there was a short story from a member in Taiwan!  So cool.  I think he was really moved.  He agreed to come to church the next day.
Sunday was stake conference.  Elder Anderson and Elder Eyring both spoke in a broadcast to all of Southern California.  It was cool they talked a lot about the importance of families and missionary work.  After stake conference we went to try to find a Chinese person that the YSA ward had records of, but couldn't find.  The address turned out to be a place called International Village.  It is an apartment complex that a ton of foreign exchange students live in.  I'm not quite sure if it is or is not part of the campus.  Regardless we went in.  We found the door, knocked, but no answer.  The phone had a spanish answering machine, so I am pretty sure the member went back to China already.
Yesterday.  We taught Wei Wei and Li the Law of Chastity and Word of Wisdom.  We told them that they need to either get married or find separate homes.  They said they would talk about it. They agreed to live the Word of Wisdom, but only as long as they stay in the US.  In China there is a huge problem with drinking and business culture.  They are our best progessing investigators so keep them in your prayes.
-Elder Murray

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pictures Added to all Posts - These are from California Riverside Mission Blog Dec 19 Zone Conference

Mt. Rubidoux Zone

January 12 - Week 23 New Chinese Elder Coming!!, Pray for Moses, Dave Mini-mission, Guo-Qing, Elder Gausi and Haslam Left, 1914 Improvement Era, Irene Baptism set for 26

Hey well it has been another week.  I am just going to go over the highlights because I spent too much time looking at the Cahoon's blog you emailed.   So on Monday I was just walking on the street and there were these two people that looked sort of Japanese, but I decided to try anyways and it turned out they were from China.  Not only that but they said they had a lot of interest in learning more about Christianity, and said they wanted to find one to join.  Monday night we got dropped by Alison...  bummer.  She said she is only interested in learning English not more about the Book of Mormon. 
Tuesday was DDM,  It was good, and we found out some really exciting news!  We are getting a new CHINESE ELDER.  He has already been out a year in Taiwan.  For some reason he had to come home, and now he is reassigned to our mission.  He comes in tomorrow, I am excited to meet him, but the bummer news is that he will be going to Eastvale with Clarkson and Yeung not with Schoonmaker and I.  Oh well, I will probably be able to serve with him some other time.
Wednesday we sent Dave (the student Snyder and I baptized in November) on a mini-mission!  We talked to President and he put him in Moreno Valley with some English speaking Elders.  It is just so Dave can see what a mission is like and decide if he wants to go on his own when he gets to his home ward in China.  We spent a long day at the institute teaching some potential investigators and an old investigator that was out of town until this week.  Her name is Irene.  We got her on date for the 26th but we will have to change it because she didn't come to church yesterday.  We even brought sack lunches to eat at the institute library.  In the library I found a 1914 Improvement Era (Old name for Ensign I guess)  It was super cool, it has stuff about world war 1 and an article called "Fatal Flaws in the Evolution Theory"   Wednesday night we did had our first English class of the semester.  It was very poorly attended, so was the class on Friday.  I hope more people will come as the semester starts up again.
100 Years Old

 Utah State University Opens - For All My Friends at UT ST
Thursday we did weekly planning and President also gave us permission to go to the library to familiarize ourselves with the Mormons in China website.  It was interesting, but didn't answer our question about if we can baptize someone who is currently a communist party member.  At night we met with the girl and her boyfriend whom I had met on Monday.   It was a pretty good lesson.  We got them on date for the 26th and commited them to come to church!
Friday we taught some potentials, and taught Guo Qing.  He is  an old Chinese visiting researcher, he is cool.  He has come to church twice now and hasn't freaked out when we teach the  gospel so that is a good sign.
Saturday I went on exchanges with our District Leader's comp.  It was a good day.  We finally got to meet with Moses ( our investigator who has come to church 4 times now)  He is really having a hard time understanding the book of mormon.  The Chinese translation is as close to English as possible so nothing is lost, but it sometimes is hard for Chinese people to understand.  He also isn't keeping the word of wisdom. He told me he "had" to drink the coffee at his office or else he would have "died of thirst"  So we are going to read with him to help him understand.  When I brought up his baptismal date, he said no because a minister of a Mandarin Baptist church told him to get baptized in any church but ours. He said he needed to figure out the reason why they said that.  So we told him, that the most important thing is knowing the book of mormon is true.  We asked if he got his answer from the Holy Ghost if he would get baptized no matter what other people say.  He said yes.  Keep him in your prayers.
Sunday it was a good day at church we had 5 investigators there!  Moses came and was asking me why God didn't tell President Monson about a storm in the Northeast,  So we told him about how the prophet had told us to have food storage and I think that helped him resolve that concern.  It was sad because it was the last full days with our room mates Elder Glausi and Elder Haslam.  They have both left already.  I am going to miss them.  The new person moving in is Elder Reber and he will be training a brand new person.
Elder Glausi, Dex, Elder Haslam, Elder Schoonmaker 

Ok that is all.  I love you guys a ton! 
-Elder Murray

New Blog If Want Emails of Posts - Need to subscribe again!! Type email address in box on right

Hey anyone who has been following this blog via email.  You have probably noticed that new posts have not been emailed out.  This is because we have had problems hosting the blog and hence the dexmissionblog.com is pointing to this new blog dextermission.blogspot.com hosted by blogger.  As it is a new blog, you will need to subscribe again to receive emails by typing email address in box on right side of blog.  It will send you an email with link to click from feed burner.

Sorry for the trouble.  Thanks for your support of Dexter.

Also check out all the posts I have added pictures that Dex started sending or some from Riverside Mission Blog.

Jan 6 - Week 22 - MoErMen and Wan Hui, Moses Baptism set for 26th, Sore throat, UCR Worker, Iris Surprise

Hey guys!  I never know what to say at the beginning of these e-mails.  It has been an up and down week.  Right now I can't talk.  I got a sore throat on Saturday, and now voice sounds pretty bad.  It makes practicing chinese pretty hard.  I think I have a little cold, but not too bad.  Ok now that's done!  On to the week!
Monday:  We had dinner/FHE at a member's house that night,  We invited Li Rui and another student (Chris, a former investigator that Elder Snyder and I taught.)  Li Rui said ok and asked if she could bring Iris!  She is that one girl that we taught forever; she didn't get baptized.  I thought she left for China, but it turned out she just went to New York and would spend one night in Riverside then go back.  So she came to FHE.  It was cool to see her again.  We taught her a lesson afterwards.  She knows she has felt the spirit and recognizes it, but she still doesn't want to get baptized.... so hard to see her go.
Tuesday: Elder Haslam and Glausi were teaching a lady that was going to China and wanted some advice, so we went on exchanges so Elder Schoonmaker could teach her since he went to China last year.  Elder Haslam and I went to teach Moses.  We brought up baptism and he was totally against it.  Then he said he needed to go, and couldn't meet again till Sunday.  So we invited him to come to church again.  He said yes.  At night we had to be in early for New Year's Eve.  We played basketball in a church gym.
Wednesday: The whole mission got two hours to clean their apartments for inspection.  Ours looked pretty darn good!  It felt nice to get everything picked up. 

Asian Looking Apartments
The Raincross - This symbol is everywhere in Riverside

At night we had dinner/New's Year's party at another member's house with a bunch of Chinese students.  It was a good time, we got some good potentials from it.
Thursday: Schoonmaker was really sick.  He hadn't been drinking any water, so in the morning we studied and did weekly planning.  In the afternoon he was feeling a lot better so we went to meet Alison.  (the girl that we taught last Sunday.)  We invited her to be baptized. She was pretty suprised.  She said she just wanted to learn English, but that if we wanted to teach her we could.
Friday: I saw a huge group of Chinese students so I went to talk  to them and a UCR worker came up and got really mad at me.  He was just taking them from the international village to the campus to give them a tour.   I think he was getting ready to fight me, so I just said hi and hoped that they'd see our free english class signs.  I am excited to get a brand new batch of students this week!

Saturday We had ZDM which always goes way too long.  At night we taught Wan Hui.  He is the guy that I accidently called and he turned out to be a Chinese immigrant who was investigating Christianity and had a kid,  (the lady that I thought was his wife turned out not to be.)  Well we taught them about the restoration, it went pretty well, but when we talked about the Book of Mormon, he said MoMen Jiao?  I think I said this in one of my last letters, but the old translation for Mormon in Chinese was MoMen. It means devil door.  Now they changed the translation to MoErMen because it was scaring people.  When I heard it in the MTC I thought it was funny, but now it is just annoying.  So once Wan Hui found out we were the Mormon church he sort of zoned out and wasn't really interested.  He said he might meet with us again next Saturday.  Keep him in your prayers!
Sunday:  Moses, Alison and Simon came to church.  It was a good testimony meeting.  I think they enjoyed it.  Then we went to Chinese gospel principles.  After the Chinese class they all decided to just walk home.  So I set an appointment that night with Moses.  The appointment went really well.  We got him back on date for the 26th.  We went over the baptismal questions. He is still waiting for his answer about the Book of Mormon.  Keep him in your prayers also.  He is a really cool guy.
Notable Quotables:
As Moses was trying to say the word Tithing (he was reading English)  I went to help him and I accidentally said teething... I was really tired last night, so now he thinks we follow the Law of Teething not Tithing.
Ok that is my week!  I miss you all.  Love you!
-Elder Murray